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Strauss Accusers Demand Ohio State Reveal Names Of Coaches Who Knew About Abuse

Dr. Richard Strauss
Associated Press
Richard Strauss worked at Ohio State from 1978 to 1998. He killed himself in 2005.

A group of former Ohio State University students accusing Dr. Richard Strauss of abuse say the recent independent report leaves many questions unanswered.

The report found some authority figures at the school repeatedly failed to adequately respond to the doctor’s conduct over a nearly two-decade-long career. The report says at least 177 male students weresexually abused by the doctor, and the investigation found some Ohio State athletic department officials knew as early as 1979 but declined to act.

Today’s administrators are quick to acknowledge those shortcomings, and have promised additional safeguards to keep it from happening again.

But attorney Ilann Maazel criticizes the report for leaving coaches and other employees anonymous.

“Why are they anonymous? Why is OSU hiding this information from the public?" Maazel asks. "We demand to know the names of all of the staff at OSU who knew about the abuse and did nothing."

The report says 22 coaches confirmed they were aware of rumors or complaints about Strauss. But investigators couldn’t make “conclusive determinations” about what each individual coach knew at the time. 

The students Maazel represents also demand to know how many male students Strauss treated at the school, and for the university to release more information about his work off-campus with younger students.

Steven Snyder-Hill says he’s skeptical of how forthcoming the university is being. He lodged a complaint with Student Health Services in 1995, which eventually contributed to Strauss’ ouster after additional complaints piled up.

Snyder-Hill contends university officials didn’t provide all the documents they had when he asked for them last year, and it makes him doubt university officials who say the school turned a page.

“Every one of those words hurts because they didn’t give me 16 pages of my documentation, which were hurtful to them purposefully," he says. "And that wasn’t the OSU back then, that was the OSU of today."

WOSU has reached out to Ohio State for comment. Last week, university president Michale Drake stressed that the report was written by a team of independent investigators and not school officials.

Another party to the case, Ron McDaniel, was a member of the tennis team. He says he complained to his coach and other athletes after Strauss examined him in the early 1980s.

“They all said, 'Welcome to the crowd, rookie, that’s how it’s done,'” McDaniel says. “Y’know, so that’s when I knew it was widespread, and they all laughed about it like yeah, sure, and they shared their stories.”

Snyder-Hill and McDaniel are party to one of three federal lawsuits against the school. Their case heads to mediation in June. Another case will likely be filed by the end of the week.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.